Leviticus 27:4
And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels.
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(4) And if it be a female . . . thirty shekels.—As the woman is the weaker vessel, and her labour is of less value, if she vows herself or dedicates by a vow any other one of her own sex to the sanctuary, she is to pay thirty shekels, or £3 17s. 6d., provided she is within the above-named limits of age. This was the value of a slave (Exodus 21:32), and is the price at which Christ was sold (Matthew 27:9). It is supposed that under this provision Jephtha might have redeemed his daughter whom he unwittingly vowed to the Lord (Judges 11:30). (See, however, Leviticus 27:29.)

27:1-13 Zeal for the service of God disposed the Israelites, on some occasions, to dedicate themselves or their children to the service of the Lord, in his house for life. Some persons who thus dedicated themselves might be employed as assistants; in general they were to be redeemed for a value. It is good to be zealously affected and liberally disposed for the Lord's service; but the matter should be well weighed, and prudence should direct as to what we do; else rash vows and hesitation in doing them will dishonour God, and trouble our own minds.The relative values of the persons appear to be regulated according to an estimate of the probable value of their future work:

Ages Male Female From a month to five years of age 5 shekels 3 shekels From five years to twenty of age 20 shekels 10 shekels From forty years to sixty of age 50 shekels 30 shekels Sixty years of age and older: 15 shekels 10 shekels

As regards the shekel of the sanctuary, see Exodus 38:24 note.

2-8. When a man shall make a singular vow, &c.—Persons have, at all times and in all places, been accustomed to present votive offerings, either from gratitude for benefits received, or in the event of deliverance from apprehended evil. And Moses was empowered, by divine authority, to prescribe the conditions of this voluntary duty.

the persons shall be for the Lord, &c.—better rendered thus:—"According to thy estimation, the persons shall be for the Lord." Persons might consecrate themselves or their children to the divine service, in some inferior or servile kind of work about the sanctuary (1Sa 3:1). In the event of any change, the persons so devoted had the privilege in their power of redeeming themselves; and this chapter specifies the amount of the redemption money, which the priest had the discretionary power of reducing, as circumstances might seem to require. Those of mature age, between twenty and sixty, being capable of the greatest service, were rated highest; young people, from five till twenty, less, because not so serviceable; infants, though devotable by their parents before birth (1Sa 1:11), could not be offered nor redeemed till a month after birth; old people were valued below the young, but above children; and the poor—in no case freed from payment, in order to prevent the rash formation of vows—were rated according to their means.

Less than the man’s price, because she is inferior to him both in strength and serviceableness.

And if it be a female,.... That is, of the same age, full twenty years of age, and not more than sixty:

then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels; about three pounds ten shillings of our money, the price of a servant, Exodus 21:32; the reason of this difference of estimation between a man and a woman is, because the woman is the weaker vessel, and her labour and service of less importance and worth, such as spinning, washing, &c.

And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels.
Leviticus 27:4The vowing of persons. - "If any one make a special vow, souls shall be to the Lord according to thy valuation." נדר הפליא does not mean to dedicate or set apart a vow, but to make a special vow (see at Leviticus 22:21). The words בּערכּך, "according to thy (Moses') valuation," it is more simple to regard as an apodosis, so as to supply to ליהוה the substantive verb תּהיינה, than as a fuller description of the protasis, in which case the apodosis would follow in Leviticus 27:3, and the verb יקדּישׁ would have to be supplied. But whatever may be the conclusion adopted, in any case this thought is expressed in the words, that souls, i.e., persons, were to be vowed to the Lord according to Moses' valuation, i.e., according to the price fixed by Moses. This implies clearly enough, that whenever a person was vowed, redemption was to follow according to the valuation. Otherwise what was the object of valuing them? Valuation supposes either redemption or purchase. But in the case of men (i.e., Israelites) there could be no purchasing as slaves, and therefore the object of the valuing could only have been for the purpose of redeeming, buying off the person vowed to the Lord, and the fulfilment of the vow could only have consisted in the payment into the sanctuary of the price fixed by the law.

(Note: Saalschtz adopts this explanation in common with the Mishnah. Oehler is wrong in citing 1 Samuel 2:11, 1 Samuel 2:22, 1 Samuel 2:28 as a proof of the opposite. For the dedication of Samuel did not consist of a simple vow, but was a dedication as a Nazarite for the whole of his life, and Samuel was thereby vowed to service at the sanctuary, whereas the law says nothing about attachment to the sanctuary in the case of the simple vowing of persons. But because redemption in the case of persons was not left to the pleasure or free-will of the person making the vow as in the case of material property, no addition is made to the valuation price as though for a merely possible circumstance.)

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